Last week, my boyfriend and I tried tantric sex. We’d been talking about it for a while but I was a little apprehensive at the intimacy of it because we haven’t been together for very long. Rather than being awkward or amusing, it was an incredibly intimate experience that’s only deepened our relationship. Needless to say, we’ll be returning to this form of sex again and again.
True proponents of tantra lament at the modern view of the ancient practice. They say it’s been sexualised and disconnected from its original principles. They may well be right – traditional tantra centres around deities and spiritual energy – but the confusion lies in the idea of masculine and feminine forces. We interpret ‘masculine energy’ as meaning ‘men’ and ‘feminine energy’ as meaning ‘women’ but, in reality, we all have both energies inside us. Through tantric sex, we channel this energy and connect our spirit with that of our partner.
For me, the criticism that modern tantra isn’t true tantra is a non-issue. A product of our modern lives is we’re all so busy all the time and tantric sex offers a way to slow down and have mindful sex. If ancient traditions have been adapted to help people connect in an increasingly-disconnected world, in some ways the tradition lives on. Change isn’t always bad.
“But what of culture?!” I hear you cry. The ancient roots of tantra aren’t going to rot because some people are picking what they need and using the movement to their own ends. For many, the spiritual side of sex isn’t appealing or doesn’t feature in their version of “good” sex. To vilify people for not “doing it right” or for being uninterested in the history of tantra seems to contradict a purpose of modern tantra – enhancing intimacy between people. I feel what’s important is that people are having pleasurable experiences with one another and for some, disregarding the spiritual aspect of tantric sex will make the experience more pleasurable.
At the British Museum’s Tantra Exhibition last year, I learnt about the history of tantra and since then I’ve deepened my understanding by watching documentaries and reading articles. Additionally, in my job as an erotic script writer [link], I’ve recently been tasked with writing stories of characters engaging in tantric sex. Being the conscientious worker that I am, I did my research; watching Kate and Chris Marley’s tantric sex videos (read: porn) and practising the breath work (what a job, eh?!). Fortunately, this meant I had a blueprint for the way I wanted to try tantra for the first time.
We set the scene: dimmed lighting, candles, cosy surroundings. We put on a tantric playlist [link], he took off his clothes and I took off my dress. Sitting on top of him, legs wrapped around each other, looking into each other’s eyes and breathing was